From Endurance to Dressage
I am just going to start rambling and hope that some sort of cohesive story comes out of this.
But first, there's this: Christian Schacht is DA BOMB! That man can teach, of that there is no doubt. I have now ridden with him for a total of 12 times in about 13 months. Each time I walk out of the ring, I am a different rider. I am like a dressage junkie when I am around him. Just one more hit, please, I beg. I simply can't get enough.
I left my house Saturday morning at 5:20 a.m. for the nearly three hour drive to White Birch Farm in Moorpark, California. Loading Speedy in the dark is no big deal; I wasn't sure what I'd get with the big brown OTTB. I turned the interior and exterior lights on in the trailer and with only a gentle tug of the lead rope, Sydney walked right in; good man, Charlie Brown. We were on the road by 5:50 a.m.
I pulled into White Birch right along with everyone else as planned. Even though my ride wasn't until 2:30, I wanted time to get Sydney settled into his stall so that I could watch the morning rides. I am so glad I did as I got to see Christian ride Belle, a lovely mare owned by Chemaine and Jan.
There were several great lessons throughout the morning. Jackie, Chemaine's assistant, rode a client's horse ...
There was also a fantastic lesson with an 18 year old gelding trying to learn lead changes. By Sunday, the horse could change in the front, but was still having some trouble making the switch in the hind end. It was really interesting to watch how many different ways Christian had for teaching the flying lead change. Here was one ...
Christian schooled several riders on the canter pirouette, including my pal, Jen, on her gelding Paolo.
Lunch was provided by the clinic host, Ventura County Chapter (VCC) of the California Dressage Society ...
And then of course, near the end of the day, my ride time arrived. I was actually feeling more and more confident as the day progressed. Sydney had been quite relaxed in his stall, but at the same time he looked really eager to get out and do something. Each time I walked up to check on him, he was bright eyed and willing without appearing anxious.
Since he had wigged out completely the last time we were at the clinic, I decided to use polo wraps to protect his legs in case there was another rodeo. In December, he crashed through the arena rails, effectively dismantling part of the court; I didn't want a repeat. Although I had wrapped millions of legs during my endurance years, it had been a while, and I had never ridden Sydney with wraps. No worries though; it's a skill that comes right back. And frankly he looked really handsome in his bright white polos and VCC Championship pad (earned by Speedy G).
Once saddled, I hand walked him down to the covered arena and parked him next to the auditors. He fidgeted for a moment, and then resigned himself to standing patiently. He watched the current horse and rider pair school through their lesson and occasionally he nibbled at my shirt or hair. I was getting happier and happier with his level of relaxation. I heard Christian thank the rider for his effort, and I knew that we were up.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at Second Level. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2022 Pending …
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read